Union: Minimum living expenses outpace minimum wage

The Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Tandurk ii) stated on Wednesday that the minimum amount of money one person needs for living expenses in Turkey is TL 1,644 — considerably higher than the current minimum wage of TL 949.
Tandurk ii also announced the monthly hunger and poverty thresholds, which were set by the union at TL 1,349 and TL 4,395 respectively. It noted that food inflation has increased by 1.18 percent since April and 16.56 percent over the past year, where prices of a wide range of fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products soared amid unfavorable weather conditions. This factor widely influenced the overall inflation rate throughout much of last year and continues to have a major impact. The union calculated that the minimum amount of money per month for a family of four to cover rent, electric, water and heating expenses as well as paying for clothes, transportation, education, healthcare and other expenditures is TL 4,394.87.
The union believes that the amount required to feed a family of four in a balanced and healthy manner has gone up TL 117 during the first five months of this year, while the total expenses of a family of four on average increased by TL 381 over the same period.
Labor unions have repeatedly criticized the 3 percent increases to the minimum wage as well as the hikes for pensions and civil servant salaries as insufficient amid increasingly high costs of living that have outpaced inflation. Food prices for a variety of goods have remained high for over a year in what has been a nightmare for agricultural producers and consumers alike, as meager yields have resulted in higher prices and increased the practice of stockpiling, where middlemen speculators hoard large amounts of crops until the price rises before unleashing the products on the market to make a quick profit.
The minimum wage for an unmarried worker in Turkey of TL 949 is currently valued at around $357, meaning that a worker earning this wage at 50 hours a week makes little more than $1.50 an hour.
Turkey has the third most unequal distribution of income among the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a report released last week indicated, adding that inequality between rich and poor in the rest of the world is also at a record high.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman